In its 34th year – thanks to the popularity of comics in mainstream culture, TV and film (and pop culture-related conventions) – HeroesCon continues to grow.
This year, the event expands to cover 240,000 square feet at the Charlotte Convention Center, in order to accommodate the growing cosplay presence and the addition of video games.
Throughout the weekend, comic artists will give drawing demonstrations, sign autographs along with creators and celebrities, and conduct panels for fans and fledgling artists and writers; there will also be vendors, costumes, independent comics and art.
Here are five reasons you might want to jump in line early.
Run DMC’s Daryl McDaniels will be on hand all weekend, but specifically you’ll want to be there when he signs autographs and talks comics and hip-hop during Saturday’s panel at 1 p.m. A lifelong Marvel comics reader, McDaniels dove into comics with his own imprint and “DMC” anthology in 2014, which cast the rapper as a superhero. DMC will also perform in concert Friday. Tickets for the show are sold separately.
2. Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon
Ba is probably best known for his illustration work on My Chemical Romance lead singer Gerard Way’s comic book series “The Umbrella Academy,” but often works with twin brother Moon. They’ve collaborated on a number of titles, including “Daytripper,” “Two Brothers,” “Casanova” and Neil Gaiman’s upcoming “How to Talk to Girls at Parties.” The Brazilian duo – which makes only a handful of convention appearances – will participate Saturday in the Milkfed Criminal Masterminds Panel (2:30 p.m.) and the Creatures Imagined and Real Panel (4 p.m.).
3. Annual Art Auction
When the convention floor closes at 6 p.m. Saturday, the high rollers come out. Even if you can’t afford to bid on original artwork, it’s still fun to come out to the Westin and see how high bidding goes and who will fork over $10,000 for the con’s most sought-after piece. Bidding begins at 8 p.m.
4. Art for a Cause
Friday’s annual Drink & Draw will be held at Buffalo Wild Wings in the NASCAR Hall of Fame building. Hosted by Team Cul de Sac and the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the event benefits Parkinson’s disease research through proceeds from art sold (and the art probably won’t be as pricey as Saturday’s auction). There are also other opportunities to contribute.
Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss have created a HeroesCon variant of their new “4 Kids Walk Into A Bank #1.” Raffle tickets for the limited edition, which is exclusive to the show, are $1; all proceeds go to Equality Now’s fight against House Bill 2. Equality Now will also receive proceeds from the sale of the HeroesCon exclusive “Non-Compliant” T-shirt, inspired by Kelly Sue Deconnick’s “Bitch Planet.” The tee will be available at Indie Island’s print-on-demand booth.
Throw your tights into the ring for Sunday’s costume contest, where you can strut your superhero stuff on stage. Registration begins at 11 a.m., contest begins at 1 p.m. If you aren’t quite ready for Harley Quinn’s short shorts or Deadpool’s tight tights, stick around for a crash course in costuming from resident cosplayer DJ Spider during a Q&A following the contest.